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Governor Newsom Announces Executive Orders and Emergency Preparedness and Response Funding Ahead of the Budget

January 9, 2019
In a press conference held today in Colfax, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled two executive orders and $415 million in funding for emergency preparedness and response.
 
Having been sworn into office on Monday, the Governor spent his first full day working on emergency preparedness, response and recovery issues. Watch the 45-minute press conference and view for the Governor’s press release.

New Funding

Governor Newsom made news early by discussing $415 million in proposed appropriations that are expected to be released in his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-20. This announcement comes two days before the constitutional deadline for the Governor to release his budget proposal by Jan. 10.

Of the $415 million, the Governor indicated he will propose a historic investment of $305 million in new emergency planning funding. The remaining $110 million is expected to be carried over from last year, and one-time funding repeated from last year’s appropriations. When asked, Governor Newsom walked through several new funding proposals, as follows:
  • $213.6 million for fuel reduction and forest health ($200 million was part of last year’s compromise to appropriate $1 billion over five years)
  • $64.4 million for surge capacity to add five new Conservation Corps crews and 13 new engines, which will be pre-deployed across the state in red flag areas
  • $25 million in additional funding for mutual aid to support local government prepositioning
  • $50 million for a communications strategy including local and regional grassroots strategies for evacuation and emergency preparedness
  • Shifting the 911 system from analog to digital. This proposal will include a 911 fee, which the Governor proposes to take effect in 2020. This action requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature. In the absence of fee, the Governor proposes state funding for two years of $10 million in fiscal year 2019-20 and $50 million in 2020-21.
  • New funding for health and wellness of first responders
  • 100+ new infrared cameras, remote sensoring, and new C130 aircraft from Air Force
  • Three-year commitment to Butte and Lake Counties to backfill property tax losses, as well as a commitment to backfill affected schools Prop. 98 funding
  • $16.3 million for a statewide earthquake early warning system
Please note that these figures were announced during the press conference and additional written budget details will be provided after the budget is released later this week.

A joint letter to President Trump signed by California Governor Newsom, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown request partnership between state and federal governments on forest management.

Executive Orders

In addition to new funding, the Governor also signed two executive orders, the second and third of his short tenure.
Executive Order N-05-19 requires CAL FIRE, in coordination with other state agencies, to report to the Governor within 45 days with recommendations to prevent and mitigate wildfires, including deploying personnel and resources, policy changes for rapid fuels management, and a methodology to assess at-risk communities. When determining which communities are at greatest risk, this executive order requires CAL FIRE to consult with local stakeholders and to consider “socioeconomic factors and vulnerable populations that exacerbate the human toll of wildfires.”

Further, the executive order announces a new “California for All” campaign for community resiliency that will be further detailed in the budget to be released later this week. We expect this is the $50 million the Governor referenced in his remarks (above). Funding for this campaign will include local grants focusing on community engagement and public education in high-risk areas with an emphasis on public health and safety.

Executive Order N-04-19 requires the state to develop a new approach to procurement with the goal of deploying new innovative solutions to the state’s wildfire crisis by spring 2020. This executive order is intended to speed up the use of new technology for fire detection by the next fire season.

Governor Newsom on Local Land Use

During the press conference, Governor Newsom was asked about local land use and the urban-wildland interface. The Governor answered that as a former mayor, he recognizes the stresses on local officials. He indicated a possible need to encourage or incentivize good behavior, rather than punitive measures. To address land use issues while accommodating the housing crisis, density is the discussion. Legislature continues to debate density, including around transit corridors, and these are related issues.

Next Steps

The League continues to monitor all activities in this area, particularly in light of the League’s strategic goal #2 for 2019 to improve disaster preparedness, recovery, and climate resiliency. Additional details will be provided later this week when Governor Newsom releases his proposed state budget for fiscal year 2019-20.


 
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